MOUNTAIN HOUSE (KPIX 5) -- A set of quintuplets just celebrated turning one this past weekend, a milestone birthday their parents feared they would never reach when they were born three months early in the East Bay last year.
"We're looking at these little two pound, six ounce babies who don't look healthy and -- to us -- it didn't look possible to survive," said the quintuplet's father, Mountain House resident Chad Kempel.
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But Lincoln, Noelle, Greyson, Preston and Gabriella — from oldest to youngest — went home more than two months after being born prematurely at Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek.
"They're at the age now where it's fun to see that they interact with each other more," said Amy Kempel, the babies' mother.
She said it has been a busy year raising the quintuplets, who also have two toddler older sisters.
But the journey to where they are now came with some challenges, even before the babies were born.
The Kempels made headlines while Amy was pregnant over their fight with Kaiser to deliver the quintuplets at a hospital that specialized in high-risk pregnancies. The hospital was out-of-network.
The hospital refused and instead reassured the parents they would be in good hands. It was the first quintuplet delivery for the medical staff.
However, the team of 60 held practice runs of the delivery up until the day of the babies actual arrival.
"They said, 'No, they look amazing,'" Chad remembers of doctors telling soon after the babies were born to calm their nerves. "'They're breathing on their own.'"
Lincoln, Noelle, Greyson, Preston and Gabriella came home within days of each other and are doing well. Their parents said they made sure they took extra measures when they were newborns to keep them healthy, like asking visitors to take off their shoes and wash their hands. They also said they avoided large crowds where germs could spread.
So what's their secret to raising quintuplets? Routines, the parents said. The babies are on feeding and sleep schedules. In fact, the couple said the babies sleep 12 hours a day — all five of them, at the same time.
"I think we have an agreement with everybody that we're just trying to get through the day and have some fun," Chad said.
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